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The Emperor Lays an Egg

Overview

A penguin grows from egg to adulthood in the coldest place on earth.

In the middle of winter, in the coldest place on earth, the mother emperor penguin lays her egg. The father rolls the egg onto his feet and keeps it warm. He doesn't eat or even move for two whole months. Finally the egg hatches.

The penguin chick is a tiny ball of gray ...

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Overview

A penguin grows from egg to adulthood in the coldest place on earth.

In the middle of winter, in the coldest place on earth, the mother emperor penguin lays her egg. The father rolls the egg onto his feet and keeps it warm. He doesn't eat or even move for two whole months. Finally the egg hatches.

The penguin chick is a tiny ball of gray fluff. The parents have to work hard to get enough food for their baby. The hungry father travels to the ocean to fish.

When the short summer comes to Antarctica, the chick grows a shiny coat of black-and-white feathers. Now it can take its first swim. And the parents fatten themselves up for winter, the long icy season when the emperor penguin lays its egg.

Stunning collages of hand painted paper and clear, evocative text capture the beauty and drama of the icy Antarctic world and one of its most fascinating and endearing inhabitants.

Author Biography: Brenda Z. Guiberson enjoys watching and reading about birds in every environment. She is especially fascinated by emperor penguins and their ability to survive in such extreme cold. Ms. Guiberson is the author of many books for children, including Cactus Hotel and Spoonbill Swamp. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Author Biography: Joan Paley is the illustrator of Unbeatable Beaks and several other books for children. She created the collages in this book by cutting shapes from paper that she hand painted. Ms. Paley lives with her husband in North Scituate, Massachusetts.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Borrowing with great success from the techniques of fiction, Guiberson relates the amazing saga of Antarctica's emperor penguins laying and hatching their eggs, and then struggling to raise their young in one of our planet's most unforgiving climates—"the coldest, windiest, driest place on Earth." For sixty-five days the father penguin carries his mate's egg on his feet—"It is such a strong instinct that one emperor who doesn't have an egg shuffles around with a chunk of ice about the size of a softball." Then the mother returns from her food-foraging to take her turn at nurturing the newly hatched chick—"She toodles to the baby and the baby whistles back as they learn each other's songs." The passing of the seasons and the maturing of the penguin young are told in language both poetic and gripping. Paley's stunning collages, made from her own hand-painted paper, depict adorably chubby penguins set against a haunting, icy landscape of blue, purple, turquoise, gray and rose. The beauty of the closing illustration, of two adult penguins ready to mate in the sunset of an Antarctic April, takes one's breath away. 2001, Henry Holt, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Beginning with the laying of an egg, Guiberson describes the care given to a baby emperor penguin by both parents from the time it hatches until it is on its own. Much detail is given about the activities of the mother and father, particularly their unusual eating patterns and survival skills. In addition to the well-researched and well-organized text, most pages utilize onomatopoeia that is sure to be enjoyed by young readers who can mimic the sounds created by these phrases ("Whoosh-whish," "Shuffle, shuffle," "Gurgle, swish"). Educational information is presented informally and successfully blends with the storylike tone of the book. Created by cutting shapes from hand-painted paper, Paley's icy blue and purple collage illustrations serve as a wintry backdrop for the black-and-white emperor penguins. They make readers shiver as they see the fathers working hard to keep themselves and their small charges warm in the freezing temperatures. As the catchy title indicates, Guiberson's book is sure to delight readers. By describing the life cycle of the emperor penguin and the unusually harsh Antarctic climate, the author introduces young readers to the wonderful diversity of the Earth's habitats.-Cathie E. Bashaw, Somers Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Pity the poor papa penguin as he perseveres in protecting his precious progeny. He has to care for the emperor penguin egg by himself through two months of windy winter weather ("Screech, whoooo!") while the mother penguin is off searching for food. Guiberson (Tales of the Haunted Deep, 2000, etc.) has crafted a nonfiction narrative that imparts general information about the birth cycle of emperor penguins in combination with the more engaging story of a specific mother and father penguin caring for their own egg and the resulting chick. This gives more dramatic impact to the text, but is a little confusing at times with intertwined discussions of both the larger penguin group and references to the father and mother. Interesting factoids and interspersed parenthetical references to penguin sounds or movements ("Waddle, waddle") add extra punch to the text. Paley's (Little White Duck, 2000, etc.) stellar watercolor collage illustrations in vibrant double-page spreads steal the show, with midnight blue skies, downy gray penguin chicks, and graphically striking adult penguins. Although The Emperor's Egg, by Martin Jenkins (1999), covers similar territory, school and public libraries will find this title useful for elementary school science reports, and nature lovers will love the pictures. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)
From the Publisher
"Guiberson's vivid prose fleshes out the bare bones of the penguin's life cycle.... Paley's collages of painted and cut papers provide exceptionally beautiful scenes."

Booklist (Starred Review)

"In addition to the well-researched and well-organized text, most pages utilize onomatopoeia that is sure to be enjoyed by young readers.... Guiberson's book is sure to delight readers."

School Library Journal

"The passing of the seasons and the maturing of the penguin young are told in language both poetic and gripping. Paley's stunning collages, made from her own hand-painted paper, depict adorably chubby penguins set against a haunting, icy landscape of blue, purple, turquoise, gray and rose."

Children's Literature

"school and public libraries will find this title useful for elementary school science reports, and nature lovers will love the pictures."

Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417742394
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Z. Guiberson has written many books for children, including Cactus Hotel, Spoonbill Swamp, Moon Bear and Disasters. As a child, Brenda never thought she wanted to be a writer—her dreams tended more toward jungle explorer. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English and Fine Art. She started thinking about writing for children when her son went to elementary school, and she volunteered in his class and in the school library. After taking exciting trips that involved a fifty-foot cactus, hungry alligators and sunset-colored spoonbills, she wanted to create books for children that would be like a field trip. Her books are full of well-researched detail, and Brenda sees this research as an adventure—one that allows her to be a jungle explorer at last. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Joan Paley is the illustrator of Unbeatable Beaks and several other books for children. She created the collages in this book by cutting shapes from paper that she hand painted. Ms. Paley lives with her husband in North Scituate, Massachusetts.

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